Luxurious Chocolate Cake with Red Wine and Ganache
Recipe Type: Baking, Chocolate
Serves: 1, three-layer cake
Wine and chocolate are a perfect pair and the addition of wine brings great texture to the cake, too. Top with ganache spiked with rum for a rich combo.
  • 250g (8.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 300g (10.5 ounces) sugar
  • 75g (2.6 ounces) Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250ml (8.4 fl. ounces) buttermilk*
  • 125ml (4.2 fl. ounces) neutral vegetable oil
  • 250ml (8.4 fl. ounces) sweet red wine**
  • 100g (3.5 ounce) dark chocolate, chopped
Ganache frosting:
  • 300ml (10 fl. ounces) heavy cream
  • 250g (8.8 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g (3.5 ounce) milk chocolate, chopped
  • 30g (1 ounce) butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons rum-based vanilla extract***
Chocolate decorations:
  • 50g (1.7 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line two round cake pans - 18cm diameter - with baking paper. Place aside until needed.
  2. Bring the red wine to a boil in a saucepan then remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Mix until melted and let the mixture cool down slightly.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a different bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and oil and mix well. Stir in the wine and chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and give it a quick mix, just until the flour is incorporated. Don't over mix or it will form tunnels while baking. A quick mix with a whisk is enough, the batter is not supposed to be smooth as a butter-based one, but not lumpy either. If using an electric mixer, set it on the lowest speed and don't mix too much.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake in the oven to 35 minutes or until well risen and the top springs back when touched. The toothpick test may not be the best in this case as the cake is slightly fudgy.
  7. Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool completely.
  8. When chilled, cut the cakes in half to obtain 4 layers.
Ganache frosting:
  1. Bring the cream to the boiling point in a saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and butter. Let it stand for 5 minutes then mix until melted and smooth.
  3. Stir in the salt and vanilla then cover the ganache with plastic wrap on the surface and place the bowl in the fridge until set, at least 2 hours.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Divide the ganache into four equal parts.
  2. Layer the cakes and ganache on a platter and place the cake in the fridge until serving.
  3. Chocolate decorations:
  4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a hot water bath.
  5. Very thinly spread the chocolate over a sheet of baking paper. Roll the paper to form a tube and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
  6. Remove the roll from the freezer and unwrap it. The set chocolate will break into these delicate, thin shards.
  7. Pile them on top of the cake just before serving.
* Make your own buttermilk by combining 250ml milk (1 cup) with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes to curdle and that's it - your own buttermilk to use in cakes.
** Replace the wine with water or freshly brewed coffee for a non-alcoholic version of this cake.
*** Replace the homemade rum-based vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon store-bought extract or vanilla paste which is stronger and has a more intense aroma. Or use dark rum if you prefer.
If you use coffee instead of wine, add 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder into the ganache.
Recipe by Honest Cooking by Mercato Fabbrica at